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Union brings new action related to 'blacklisting' allegations

Legal gavel

Workers’ union Unite has announced its latest round of legal proceedings in relation to the “blacklisting” controversy.

Multiple legal proceedings are being taken forward by the Unite union on behalf of 70 construction workers who were allegedly blacklisted by the now-disbanded organisation called The Consulting Association.

“Unite is determined to ensure that the people directly responsible for blacklisting workers and ruining their lives are brought to justice and have to answer for their actions,” said Unite assistant general secretary for legal affairs Howard Beckett.

As part of the ongoing legal action, proceedings have also been issued against eight firms. The firms are:

Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK, Laing Limited, John Laing Construction, Kier, Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick, Balfour Beatty Construction, Crown House Technologies, Costain Building & Civil Engineering, Costain, Costain Oil Gas & Process and Carillion Construction.

The allegations are for allegations of unlawful conspiracy, breach of privacy, defamation and for Data Protection Act offences. Proceedings have also been instigated against four former chairmen of the Consulting Association.

In 2016 Unite secured £10M in compensation for workers affected by the “blacklisting” scandal.

A spokesperson for Costain said: “Costain demands the highest standards of practice regarding its recruitment and supply chain management. We were a founding member of The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme which was established to provide affected workers with easy access to compensation. We apologised for past practice which was not up to our current standards and have paid financial settlements to workers through the High Court.”

A spokesperson for Sir Robert McAlpine said: “We have a zero-tolerance policy towards blacklisting, illegal or unfair recruitment practices and we expect all our sub-contractors to comply with this. In addition to the steps we have taken internally to ensure zero abuses of employment rights, we have introduced a rigorous audit of our sub-contractors to ensure they all fully comply with our HR policies. Organisations in breach of any of our policies are immediately removed from our supply chain.”

Laing O’Rourke and Carrillion did not comment. Balfour Beatty said it did not comment on ongoing court proceedings. All other companies named have been contacted for comment.

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